NCFM Public Relations Director Steven Svoboda reviews “How Obama’s Gender Policies Undermine America” by Diana Furchtgott-Roth

November 11, 2011

Svoboda reviews "How Obama's Gender Policies Undermine America"

By Steven Svoboda

NCFM Public Relations Director

How Obama’s Gender Policies Undermine America. By Diana Furchtgott-Roth.

New York: Encounter Books, 2010. 47 pp. $5.99. Review by J. Steven Svoboda.

How Obama’s Gender Policies Undermine America by Diana Furchtgott-Roth is the sixteenth in a series of small chapbooks Encounter Books is offering in a fascinating new publishing program. In this increasingly screen-oriented age, the concept of promoting paper books by putting out small, inexpensive, pocket-sized pamphlets on topics of political interest is a fascinating endeavor that should be supported.

Furchtgott-Roth is the author of two excellent books, Women’s Figures: An Illustrated Guide to the Economics of Women in America and the more recent The Feminist Dilemma: When Success is Not Enough (watch video).

In fewer than fifty small-sized pages, writing accessibly so that the entire chapbook can probably be read in fifteen to thirty minutes by most readers, the author makes her case that the federal government is hurting our economic strength by attempting to ensure equality of outcome for women in the marketplace and not just equality of opportunity. “Equal outcomes is a pernicious goal for government policy, one that smacks of central planning and heavy official intrusion into private decision making, such as what to study and what vocation to pursue.”

Furchtgott-Roth’s agenda entails promoting men’s rights. “Policymakers,” she urges on the very first page, “should require that government contractors hire men to bring down their 10 percent unemployment rate. Health reform bills should feature Offices of Men’s Health to help men live to the same age as women.”

Furchtgott-Roth goes beyond trenchant analysis and vivid writing to find new pathways to demonstrating her point. In what was for me a particularly memorable example, as I went through brain surgery myself a few years back to address a potentially life-threatening condition, she verges on the personal: “Not even a woman would choose a female brain surgery for delicate surgery if she knew that the surgeon was a product of affirmative action. Instead, the patient would choose a man, because he might be better at his job.” No kidding!

The author devotes a few effective pages to an overview of Title IX. Although I have read and reviewed entire books on Title IX, and excellent ones at that, I don’t recall ever before hearing the fact she reports that “NASA states on its Web site that it has not received any Title IX complaints, yet it has produced a manual” on the topic.

By the time the author has presented her full case, we are well prepared to believe her conclusion that, “There is no better way to destroy our universities than by artificially ensuring gender parity in math and science.”

Most disturbing, a new federal law, Section 342, establishes thirty (count em!) offices of Women and Minority Inclusion in the financial services industry. The author convincingly explains why “to comply [with Section 342], agencies are likely to find it easier to employ and contract with less qualified women and minorities, merely in order to avoid regulatory trouble. This would, in turn, decrease the agencies’ efficiency, productivity, and output while increasing their costs.” In fact, four commissioners of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sent a letter to senate leaders predicting about Section 342, predicting, “The likelihood that it will in fact promote discrimination is overwhelming.”

Whatever one thinks of Barack Obama (and I went to law school with him and knew him well and believe he means well), it is hard not to see red when Furchtgott-Roth notes that Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “mentions seven offices and coordinating committees especially for women—and not one for men. The word ‘breast’ is mentioned 42 times in the act, and the word ‘prostate’ does not even warrant one.” This despite the fact that prostate cancer is now killing slightly more men than breast cancer is killing women.

I can’t think of enough good things to say about Diana Furchtgott-Roth, about her incisive, clear writing, and about this creative, accessible new format from Encounter Books. Highly recommended!

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